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Mar 16, 2007 12:21 PM

Where Sambamaster Should Go For His Last Few Meals Before Leaving Austin

Our fellow 'hound sambamaster is leaving Austin for Wichita, Kansas, on Tuesday, yet his favorite restaurant, Asia Cafe, is closed this week. I don't know how many meals he can cram in before he leaves, but I think we can all agree that every one of them should be amazing.

Sambamaster's posts indicate that he considers all Italian food in Austin to be quite bad. The only Mexican/Tex-Mex I've seen him consistently praise is the chow at La Michoacana Meat Market. Plus, he favors the cooking of honest, unpretentious chefs over that of many graduates of fancy cooking-schools. So, let's leave off the usual suspects, for his sake.

Off the top of my head, I'll make one suggestion. Don't leave town without trying the tacos bañados at La Regio Montana. This is a drive-through on East Riverside, so you can get several plates to-go and still have plenty of time to pack. You may as well order a campechana and a tostada Siberia while you're there, plus some Mexican coke to wash it all down with. And ask for some of their green salsa made with just emulsified crema and really hot chiles. This thread has more details:

What other suggestions can we come up with, chowhounds?

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  1. If I was being consigned to non-Austin living I would blast out to Garfield and visit Surin and Dick at Little Thailand.Start off with the Stuffed Chicken Wing....move forward with the Cabbage Soup and finish off with the Wok Cooked Thai Ribeye.Drinking freely of Sing Ha and programming the juke box all the while

    1. For a tasty bite on the north end of town, I'd suggest a lunch at Don Luis Supertaco and Cafe (southbound frontage of MoPac at Parmer). Their tortillas, barbacoa, chicharones, and pork in green sauce have made delicous tacos, and their other dishes have held up reasonably well. ( )_

      If there's time to take a serious break from packing, I'd also make the drive out to Spicewood and have whatever specials are on that day at the Backstage Steakhouse. The non-pretense is in full effect, and their food has been consistently good on every visit, but as scruptiouschef has said recently, it might pay to ensure the chef is in house for a farewell meal. ( )

      1 Reply
      1. re: Knoblauch

        Went to Don Luis yesterday (Sunday) round 12:30 to get my fix. I had been once before and had the barbacoa and the pork w/ their spicy green sauce on corn tortillas and was very happy with the flavor and spicy level - actually somewhat spicy. But on this trip I tried their menudo and was happy as a clam! It was a nice bowl swimming with spicy flavor, served piping hot and chockfull of tripe and yellow hominy. It was served w/ chopped onions and cilantro on the side and a wedge of lime and I asked for corn tortillas for dipping. It was delicious! I had recently had the menudo at Juan in a Million and am still looking for other places to try but can highly recommend Juan and Don Luis if you're craving a good bowl of menudo.

      2. I like the little Thailand idea if sambamaster has never been. When I went, there was a guy at my table that proclaimed "we don't know anything about thai food so just bring us what you think we'd like" as I cringed. I insisted on the beef salad, which was absolutely awesomely balanced and bursting with flavor, followed by several okay but uneventful dishes, including a standard curry that didn't have a hell of a lot of backbone.

        Anyhow, my point is to insist on having what you want. I will go back and do that one day.

        Otherwise, I think that Sambamaster should have his three favorite dishes in Austin (other than Asia Cafe) before he leaves.

        Or "she."

        5 Replies
        1. re: rudeboy

          Think of the thread not as prescriptivist—You have to eat here, so forget about what you might have liked or planned—but as a parting gift to a fellow 'hound. These are just suggestions, after all. He'll end up going wherever he wants.

          In other words, is there something that you haven't seen sambamaster review or comment on that you think he might really enjoy?

          Even if he can’t make it there, this thread can still be useful to anyone else who reads it in that “if I only had a few last meals in Austin and was looking for a certain kind of food experience, here’s where I’d go” kind of way.

          By the way, sambamaster signed himself Mike on one thread, so I'm not assuming the "he," except insofar as I'm making the educated guess that Mike is almost always a male nickname.

          1. re: rudeboy

            Sounds like we need S'master to make a Top Three list! If his CDs are packed, that is.

            1. re: rudeboy

              He. Sambamistress is in Kansas!

              I went to Little Thailand when it was Lek's Little Thailand in a mobile home behind Bergstrom air base in 1982-83. It was the first Thai place "in town" even though it was in the boonies. The food was indeed excellent. Lek was the American dude's wife, but, and this is conjecture, she tired of his abuse and left him. Left the kids with him, so no telling what happend. He found another Thai woman to cook after that and the food was never as good. Don't know her name, and don't know if she's the current cook out there. I stopped going after I witnessed a nasty case of him yelling at his young children who were doing their homework in the was after 8pm and they were about 6 or 7...should have been in bed...but he ripped them a new one because he didn't think they were working hard enough ( i saw the whole thing, the kids were definitely not verged on abuse in my opinion). After that, and the mysterious disappearance of Lek, I stopped going. Have not been to the "new" location, though they must have moved in the late '80s.
              Maybe I should try it again before I leave, but it is just a bit creepy still for me....

              Mike it is, MPH. You've seen me in the newspaper! And magazines...

              CDs almost packed. Utilities terminated, etc.

              And I have to say I really appreciate this thread. Very cool.

              I want to hit Lockhart tomorrow (though I lived in Taylor and hit Muellers way too often).

              As for machacado, Habana's is the best I've had in town...not unlike that from around Sabinas Hidalgo in Nuevo Leon where machacado reigns supreme. almost worth the drive down...kevlar vest recommended.

              look forward to other recommendations. hmmmmmm, Backstage is only 21 miles from cedarchopper park!!!!

              1. re: sambamaster


                If you see this post today (Saturday) and you're still hungry after your trip to Lockhart, you might want to head over to the Backstage Steakhouse!

                Raymond Tatum won't be there tomorrow (Sunday), and I believe they're closed on Monday. He should be back in the kitchen on Tuesday, but you'll probably be on your way to Kansas by then.


                1. re: MPH

                  Didn't make it to Lockhart. gotta wait till next visit. too much packing left to do...wrangled some taquitos and a great huarache at La Michoacana, and am heading to Sunflower for dinner...don't really need to eat anymore for the next week, but can't resist the temptations. The Saccone's pizza last night was perfect! (for austin.....)

                  so, Backstage will have to wait until i return with Sgt. Sambamistress!

            2. No time to comb back through S'master's posts, but if I was leaving for Kansas, I would do the Lockhart loop one last time, and get a machacado taco with borracho salsa at Curra's. Maybe a mofongo and an empanada at Habana. And a cold Shiner draft somewhere.